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The Almighty Buck

Top 10 Inventions in Money Technology During the 1900's 344

scuggums writes "The DaVinci Institute has put together an interesting historic piece to help put the world of money technology into perspective. While I'm glad to see the ATM machine made the list, I had no idea it was invented back in 1939. Other items on the list are barcodes, spreadsheets, and RSA encryption. This looks to be one of the research pieces the Institute's doing for their upcoming Future of Money Summit in October."
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Top 10 Inventions in Money Technology During the 1900's

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  • Huh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "While I'm glad to see the ATM machine made the list"
    wow and automatic teller machine machine, is that used to make ATM's ?
  • A little tidbit... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Valar ( 167606 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:03PM (#6662644)
    The first international banking system was establish ed by the Knights Templar during the crusades. It used something like a check, so that pilgrims didn't have to carry physical wealth with them along the way. The involvement of the templar in money handling is part of what made them so wealthy, which was part of what made them so feared, which was King Philip eventually rounded up and arrested the leaders of the order. I just think it's kind of interesting that banking has its roots in a militant order...
    • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:45PM (#6662832) Homepage Journal
      The first international banking system was establish ed by the Knights Templar during the crusades. ... I just think it's kind of interesting that banking has its roots in a militant order.

      International banking goes back to Ancient Greece. The various city-states amounted, in their day, to the equivalent of today's nation-states. They carried on bank-supported trade with each other, and with more distant states such as Egypt.

      Your point about banking having its roots in a militant order is well made. Indeed, governments have always reserved for themselves two things: armies and currency.
    • by 56ker ( 566853 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:00AM (#6663131) Homepage Journal
      I think that the invention of paper money by the Chinese was more important though. Once you get past small amounts - metal currency just isn't practical. I suppose it's a similar idea behind the banks.
  • Excuse me, but (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Tyro ( 247333 )
    what exactly does a "smart card" have to do with money technology?

    Most of the ones I've seen used are as digital tokens to access computers, enter security doors... Apart from the "credit cards" you can charge up at Kinkos (and I would consider those credit cards, not "smart cards") I've never seen one used that had a big impact on money technology.


    • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:2, Informative)

      They've become reasonably popular on college campuses to operate vending machines, laundry and they like. However, they're probably on the list for their future potential more than anything that's been realized yet.
      • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maxume ( 22995 )
        They were so popular at the University of Michigan that they stopped using them. The chips always broke, and it was impossible to put cash on the card, because there were not enough machines(not in the busy sense, in the location sense), and on top of all of that, nothing accepted them. Also, the food services set up a more popular system that used the magnetic stripe. I think a big part of the reason the magnetic stripe was more popular is that it was quite a bit easier to scam parents into putting a coupl
    • American? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pkhuong ( 686673 )
      Look elsewhere.

      Smart cards have been used to pay for stuff like gas in europe since at least 1997. I can't give you a precise date because all i know is i saw them in use when i went to France in '97. No they were not credit or debit cards.
    • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by rynthetyn ( 618982 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:22PM (#6662744) Journal
      what exactly does a "smart card" have to do with money technology?

      You must be an American--in much of Europe, all of the credit cards are smart cards. When I was in Spain about 3 years ago, I couldn't use my credit card to make pay phone calls because the phones were all equipped with smart card readers and couldn't read my American credit card with only a mag strip.
      • I don't like that idea... I have a chip like that on my PSU ID and despite being only about a year old it sporadically decides not to work. I wouldn't want to carry around a couple hundred bucks on one.
        • I don't like that idea... I have a chip like that on my PSU ID

          You don't "carry it around" on the smart card. It's just an authentication and basic data storage mechanism. But You wouldn't know anything about that going to an ag school (couldn't resist).
        • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:4, Informative)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Monday August 11, 2003 @01:55AM (#6663312) Homepage Journal

          I have a chip like that on my PSU ID and despite being only about a year old it sporadically decides not to work.

          Stop sporadically sticking it in the slot backwards!

          Seriously, I work with smart cards and I find your statement very hard to believe. Unless the contacts on your chip are really filthy and prevent the reader from getting a good connection, the chip will either work or not. I suppose it's possible that some really stupid software on the chip occasionally goes into a bad state (and then somehow recovers???) but given that a chip essentially "reboots" every time it's inserted in a reader, that would have to be some really bad software.

          On further reflection, one other possibility does occur to me: If the contact plate has partially broken loose from the chip underneath, it could be that it's only making contact intermittently. I've never seen a chip do this, though; usually if you manage to break the leads, they're broken and will *never* make contact.

          In any case, what you're experiencing is very uncommon. I recommend breaking the chip so that it *never* functions and then taking it in and complaining so that they give you a replacement. You can break it pretty easily if you place your thumbnails on the contact plate and crease it sharply. You can also shatter the chip by placing it on a hard surface (concrete works well) and hitting it hard with a hammer.

          • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:3, Informative)

            by swillden ( 191260 ) *
            One more idea: You are using it correctly, right? People often have a tendency to treat smart cards the same way they do a magstripe card in a self-service gas pump reader. With a smart card you have to insert it in the reader and then *leave it there* until the two computers (the one in your card and the one in the reader) are done communing. Generally this means you don't take the card out until the reader tells you to.
            • The readers that are in vending machines and all other devices that are open to the general public (as opposed to, say, at a checkout counter in a store) hold the card while it is in use so you *can't* remove it early.

              To be fair, I have suspicions that one particular reader in a vending machine in my dorm somehow screwed things up because it seemed to have problems after I attempted to use it on several of the many occasions that the reader malfunctioned. Normally this wouldn'd bother me, but it also affec
              • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:3, Informative)

                by swillden ( 191260 ) *

                The readers that are in vending machines and all other devices that are open to the general public (as opposed to, say, at a checkout counter in a store) hold the card while it is in use so you *can't* remove it early.

                Capturing readers are nice.

                To be fair, I have suspicions that one particular reader in a vending machine in my dorm somehow screwed things up

                I can't see any way a reader could mess up your card... overvoltage, maybe? But that would tend to make the card completely unusable, rather tha

    • by bailster ( 219960 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @12:35AM (#6663027)
      In Hong Kong we use a smart card (stored value card) called the Octopus. I wear a waterproof Octopus watch, which contains the smart chip.

      With the watch/card I can:
      --take a bus or minibus from home to the subway station
      --get coffee and sandwich at starbucks near the subway station
      --ride the subway to the ferry terminal
      --stop at 7-11 and buy a magazine
      --pay for the ferry to one of many smaller islands
      --get a coke from the vending machine at the ferry terminal
      --go to the beach at a smaller island, don't worry about my "money" getting wet -- but no, the seafood restaurants and island bars won't take the card...

      The card is totally anonymous (or so they tell us). Downsides: it has an upper limit of HK$1000, good for cheap stuff but nothing big, has to be refilled in person for cash, and isn't accepted at many places other than the ones just mentioned. The local McDonald's stopped taking them about a year ago. The Octopus was originally developed by the HK subway system (govt owned, now partially privatized) "from Australian technology" and was then extended to some retailers "near" subway facilities. I have a feeling the banks and bank regulators wouldn't let them go any further -- way too threatening.

      The upshot is that, except for the fact that you are required by law to carry your ID, you can basically spend a whole day outside without having to carry a wallet. Now, try to do the same thing in most other countries. Why hasn't anyone rolled this out in the US?

      [By the way, the HK govt is now phasing in smart card ID cards -- haven't heard what they plan to do with the info. Big bro has a new toy!]
    • Re:Excuse me, but (Score:3, Informative)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 )
      Five years ago, in France and in Italy, they were everywhere and they were accepted everywhere. Smart cards readers are like PCs and American cards are like internet browsers. Smart cards perform the transaction as soon as you give your pin and press the enter key. American cards perform the transaction after one or two seconds after you press the enter key.

      Smart cards probably have other advantages/disadvantages as well, but that's the only thing I picked up on when I was there.

  • Smart card? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gherald ( 682277 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:05PM (#6662655) Journal
    From the article: Other technologies developed in the 1990s didn't make the list because most have not reached the level of impact that the following items have.

    So they ignore all the cool 1990's technology that has already had widespread influence and put the Smart Card on the list, which has never amounted to anything...
  • I volunteer (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:06PM (#6662657)
    to test all new new inventions coming out of the mint. I can handle large test batches too.
  • by The Old Burke ( 679901 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:10PM (#6662683)
    .. but the future is even more interesting.
    Just Imagine all the new possibilities for new cominations you can arrange if you combine the latest in technology with the old paper bill.

    I'm really looking forward to the bill that makes its possible to track where the bill was, who used it and what was bought. For example, retailers could produce special targeted advertising for peole that came with money they had won in a lottery. If the retailer knows where the customer has grabbed the money its much easier to sell thing based on customer history and public profiles.

    A on the security side the government can destroy money that belongs to suspected criminals and therby prevent crime before it takes place. If you don't have cash its difficault to opperate for example a drug ring.

  • Fiat Money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:12PM (#6662690)
    One of the top 10 'innovations' would have to be the removal of gold backing the Dollar, allowing for huge national deficits. A nice timeline is here. []
    • Complete Bull (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @12:54AM (#6663109) Homepage
      My Int'l Econ prof talked about this in class. The gold-standard emerged (more or less) out of WWII and was pushed by the US. This is because the US had most of the gold. During the stagflation of the 70's, the value of the dollar dropped, and most of the gold left the US. We were down to like 40% of the WWII era. (Actually, technically, it never moved more than a few dozen feet. More or less every nation in the world except France keeps their gold at Fort Knox, and International trades are done by carting gold from one room to another inside the base)

      Anyway, the gold standard fell apart because it "fixes" the relationship of one current with respect to another, and the gold acts as a kind of balast to compensate for changes in the relationship. But as you can imagine, this is pretty unstable. Floating currencies, which is what 95% of most currencies are today, automatically compensate by changing exchange rates. Geographic discrepencies are arbitraged away. The system works.
      • Re:Complete Bull (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Walter Wart ( 181556 )
        I would ask for a refund for that class. In what is possibly the greatest political speech in US History William Jennings Bryan put forward the bimetallic standard as a reaction to gold-backed currency. "We shall not crucify American farmers on a cross of gold." Long before WWII.

        The gold standard "fixes" nothing in any real sense. Gold is a commodity like any other. Its value changes over time depending on the degree to which people want it. The quantity also changes. People still dig the stuff out of the
        • Re:Complete Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:10AM (#6663369) Homepage
          Let's put it another way. Consider the dollar and the Yen. Let's say both are backed by gold. Each dollar is backed up by one ounce of gold in the US federal reserve, while each yen is backed up by two ounces provided by the BOJ. You have now fixed the relationship of the dollar to the yen at 2 dollars/yen. So yes, the gold standard does in fact fix relationships. If everyone uses gold, then they all flucauate equally, so changes in the value of gold do not impact trade relationships

          But let's say the japanese economy tanks, and they their buying power is really only 1 dollar/yen. People who have yen will trade them in (at the nominal rate of 2 dollars/yen) to get 2 dollars, and have thus doubled their real buying power. The BOJ then has to start buying yen with dollars (if they have them) or gold in order to equalize the value. But what happens if they run out of both? That was the trouble under the old system.

          That system fell apart, and (even though some new ones were suggested) no replacement was ever implimented. The "chaos" that ensued was basically the best system possible.
          • Re:Complete Bull (Score:3, Interesting)

            Unbacked systems (rather, systems backed with the "full faith and credit" of the issuer) have some very positive aspects.

            They can also have some very negative aspects.

            There are 3 types of taxes: taxes on trade, taxes on holdings, and taxes on the money supply. The third is very, very dangerous in a system where politicans are at least theoretically accountable to the people, as a tax on the money supply is a subtle death.

            Taxes on the money supply are usually levied by increasing the money supply. In i

      • Re:Complete Bull (Score:3, Interesting)

        by radish ( 98371 )
        or less every nation in the world except France keeps their gold at Fort Knox

        Interesting. I used to work at a precious metal processing company in the UK, who are one of the primary assay makers in europe. Most of the national gold of european countries (at the time particularly the newer, eastern nations) went through us at one time or another for testing, purification and certification. So unless they shipped it from the US to Cambridgeshire and then back again (kind of expensive!) I'd assume it lived i
    • How long must this century-old debate continue? There is nothing special about currency backed by gold. Why is paper money worth something? Because people will give you something you want in exchange for it? Why are shiny rocks worth something? Because people will give you something you want in exchange for it. As far as value is concerned, there's no difference between currency backed with gold or not "backed" at all, except that with gold-based currency, your currency supply is un-regulatable, leading to
      • I think you've made the parent's point.

        Realizing the truth of your argument, that there is nothing special about currency backed by gold, and implementing it by letting the dollar and other major currencies float, was surely one of the most remarkable (and remarked on) monetary actions of the 20th Century.

        (However, it did cause stock in one bond (movie) to fall.)
        • Right. I assumed he was being sarcastic, and was trying to say that the move to floating currency was a horrible mistake (a view shared by the site he linked). I was trying to point out the opposite.
  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:13PM (#6662696)
    Frankly, smart cards shouldn't be on that list, as the intended use(storing money on the card) has not been perfected against people hacking the card for more money. Smart cards trust the "client", and as any MMORPG developer can tell you, that's a bad thing. Paper money and credit cards at least have some protection, smart cards on the other hand are a relitively easy fraud source for anyone with a card writer, and the resources to use it; unlike any other method, you end up with a perfect "digital copy" of the money.
    • Frankly, smart cards shouldn't be on that list, as the intended use(storing money on the card) has not been perfected against people hacking the card for more money.

      So does cold hard cash. Instead of a card-reader, the bad guy just needs a knife. Are you saying we shouldn't use cash, because it isn't "secure"?

      Smart cards trust the "client", and as any MMORPG developer can tell you, that's a bad thing.

      Again, so does cash. All money trusts the 'client' to a certain extent: your bank account has a bi
      • That is all true, but the difference between "real" money and "digital" money is that with digital money, you're going to end up with "perfect" money; no flaws, nothing to track, just 1's and 0's. Real money has ink, paper, and numerous physical traits to identify it, making a "perfect" copy nearly impossible, digitial money is as simple as figuring out what the ATM told the smart card to make it say it had more money.
  • by cvk ( 696855 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:14PM (#6662703)
    ...and what does it all lead to? Inventive new ways to pay for porn sites....
  • Ah, ATM (Score:5, Funny)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:15PM (#6662705) Homepage
    5.) The Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) - 1939

    I think this is an invention that is both terrific and dangerous. I personally have decided to not get an ATM card, reasoning that if my money is harder to get to, it's harder to spend.
  • Plastic money (Score:5, Informative)

    by questamor ( 653018 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:15PM (#6662707)
    Another one worth mentioning, Plastic money as used in several countries now, starting as a collaboration between a couple of countries using technology developed in Australia. It's a late 80s thing and only fairly recent, but something upwards of 30 nations use last I looked.
    • Re:Plastic money (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mvdw ( 613057 )
      Yes but they don't use it in the states, so it can't be that important, apparently.
    • Re:Plastic money (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Snoopy77 ( 229731 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @12:28AM (#6663012) Homepage
      Modded funny?

      The only thing funny is that the USians don't know what we mean. While you guys have pulling out soggy wads of green from your washing machines here in Australia we've been successfully laundering our plastic notes since the 80's.
    • Personally, I prefer to use cowrie shells.
    • Yeah, have you tried to rip Thai money? A friend of mine handed me a bill and said he'd bet me two of em if I could tear it in half. Being a manly man, I agreed and proceeded to spend quite some energy on doing nothing. It's also nice to be able to have it come out of the laundry just fine...
  • From the article:
    "American Express and MasterCard became huge successes overnight, and by the mid-'70s, Congress had to begin regulation of the credit card industry by banning such practices as the mass mailing of active cards to those who had not requested them."
  • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:18PM (#6662724)
    The article is good, but focuses mainly on technologies for automating the transfer of money (wire transfer, credit cards, ATM's, etc).

    There have also been significant leaps in the technology that is plain old paper currency. e.g. watermarking, plastic bank notes (Australia), holograms, etc.

    Would have been nice if they had explored this aspect also. Give me good old-fashioned currency any day.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:20PM (#6662736)
    ... creative accounting on the list. Of course I imagine that predates the 1900s.
  • the memory bank (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lopati ( 74873 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:26PM (#6662761) Homepage
    keith hart i think should have been one of the speakers, here's an excerpt [] from "the memory bank":
    The idea of money as a source of social memory was also crucial for John Locke, who figures prominently in our story as the philosopher who inaugurated the modern age of democratic revolutions. Locke was obsessed with money's role both in establishing a progressive social order and in subverting it as its criminal antithesis. Indeed, he believed that money launched humanity from the state of nature onto the road to civil government. As long as men's possessions were limited to perishable products, the scope for property was restricted. Money, by offering a durable store of value convertible against all useful things, unleashed the potential for property accumulation and for the intergenerational transmission of inequality. For Locke, then, money was indispensable to that development of cultural memory on which civilization depends.
    also btw, bernard lietaer [] should've been [] a speaker [] as well []! (altho he is on the board :)
  • Strangely missing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ccnull ( 607939 ) <<moc.citircmlif> <ta> <llun>> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:43PM (#6662823) Homepage
    No anti-counterfeiting technology? (Security strips in money, inks that change color when you change the angle, microprinting)

    Surely there has been SOMETHING of interest to come from the financial/tech world to be invented in the last 20 years.
  • The social impact of the credit card cannot be under-estimated.
    That means it's really small! I think they mean it can't be oversetimated.
    • Re:From Article (Score:2, Informative)

      by kgarcia ( 93122 )
      "The social impact of the credit card cannot be under-estimated.
      That means it's really small! I think they mean it can't be oversetimated."

      In this instance, the "cannot" does not mean "we are unable to underestimate the social impact", but rather, "The social impact of the credit card should not be under-estimated". In other words, don't under-estimate the social impact....

      or something like that. The author used the term correctly.
      • Weird. According to Google, the phrase "cannot be overestimated []" is approximately 1/3 as common as cannot be underestimated []", and they appear to carry the same meaning. I would tend to agree with the OP though.
        • Another fun one to try figuring out is biweekly.

          About 50% of the people I talk with think this means twice a week, 50% think it means every two weeks.

          The latter are correct. Unfortunately the former use is so common that it has been included in many dictionaries of late.

          The interesting thing I've noticed is that there is almost no confusion over semi and bi prefixes for most larger time frames such as month and year/annual
      • I don't know; while what you say is interesting, I don't quite agree.

        I always catch this because I remember this Dilbert strip, where Dilbert's like, "Hey, don't underestimate my intelligence." Dogbert responds, "I could never underestimate your intelligence," and Dilbert is satisfied.
    • Usually, for that sort of meaning, one would say either "the social impact of the credit card SHOULD NOT be underestimated" OR "the social impact of the credit card CANNOT be overestimated."
  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:52PM (#6662872)

    The title says it all. The EURO too while were at it. IMHO, government has no business being in the money business other than punishing people who act fradulently, and holding dishonest people accountable. I'm not saying we should have a gold standard, but something whose value can't be manipulated by government policy. (Yeah, I know the FED technically isn't part of the US govt - but give me a break)
  • Ignored! (Score:3, Funny)

    by MOtisBeard ( 693145 ) <> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:52PM (#6662875)
    Huh. They completely ignored the giant stone coinage of the Yap Islanders. What could be more innovative? The money is too large and heavy to move, so instead of carrying it around and exchanging it, the people of Yap simply point to their money when they want to purchase something, saying "That one's mine. Now it's yours." No inflation, ever, 'cause the total supply of money is completely static. No loose change lost in the sofa. No underworld money laundering. No expensive infrastructure to maintain. One drawback, of course: the first Yap to figure out how to purchase a bulldozer from the mainland using giant stone coins will end up lord and master of the whole society.
    • Yap inflation (Score:3, Informative)

      No inflation, ever, 'cause the total supply of money is completely static.

      That isn't actually true - there's a smaller island near Yap where the special coins were periodically quarried and rafted back to Yap.

      Incidentally, Milton Friedman tells the story of how when Yap was part of the German possessions in the Pacific, the German colonial government once tried to force the Yap Islanders to assist in building infrastructure improvements on their island. The islanders weren't really terribly interested.
  • gangs (Score:5, Funny)

    by qqtortqq ( 521284 ) <tort@kco[ ] ['nli' in gap]> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:53PM (#6662879)
    It wasn't until 1927 when the first armored car robbery occurred. The Flatheads Gang was responsible for this robbery near Pittsburgh, PA. It was reported that $104,250 was taken in the heist.

    Gangs had such cooler names back on those days.
  • Arghhh.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by chriskenrick ( 89693 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @11:55PM (#6662891)
    ATM machine?

    What's next:

    PIN number?

    Contains Windows NT technology?

    Just say no to redundancy!
  • This is just a test
  • The Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) - 1939
    The Credit Card - 1950

    11 years of "so...what the hell we going to put in it?"
  • bonds & futures, etc (Score:2, Informative)

    by scotartt ( 671253 )
    They don't seemed to have considered things like government bonds (this underlies the whole system of currency!), and more importantly in the last 100 years, financial futures (futures contracts on bonds and the like) which to quote the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT); "In 1975, the CBOT expanded its offering to include financial contracts, initially, the U.S. Treasury Bond futures contract which is now one of the world's most actively traded."

    These are integral parts of the whole system in regulating and pr
  • by SoVi3t ( 633947 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:37AM (#6663445)
    June 27, 1967...Barclay's Bank installs the first "Barclaycash" in England. It could only handle withdrawls, and was intended for use in emergencies when the bank was closed. An American (BJ Meredith) saw it, and was amazed at why it wasn't already in the States. He and his younger brother (Don Meredith, Dallas Cowboys quarterback) put some money together, and founded Docutel, Inc. In November 1971, they installed the world's first fully automated teller machine; a Docutel Total Teller (TT) 300, in the lobby of Atlanta's Citizens & Southern National Bank. Unfortunately customers didn't know what they were, or how to use them. Finally, First National Bank of Atlanta installed one, painted it red, and called it Tillie the All-Time Teller, and spent over half a million dollars advertising it. It made headlines all over the country. By 1977, Docutel was a $31 million company. Unfortunately, competition grew, and Docutel rushed a new model (the TT2000), in September of 1977. The buttons stuck, the machine ate cards like they were candy, and the computer overloaded after several hours of use. Plus it was larger than the previous model, so banks had to knock bigger holes in the walls to replace older models. Docutel's market share plummeted from 80% to 27%. In 1982, they merged with a company named Olivetti, but even that didn't help. In 1986, they threw in the towel. They changed the banking world forever, but never survived long enough to cash in on the world they had created.
  • The "second," "third," and "fourth" markets of the Stock Exachage came about in the 1900s. These revolutionized the speed at which transactions took place and took the Stock exchanges to a new level of internationality. Without these their would not be trillions of dollars in the stock markets today in America alone...
    • Stock markets are important but not directly to money itself. What is more important is the establishment of the international money markets. This could only happen with the existance of one other piece of technology, the telephone.
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @05:44AM (#6663901) Homepage
    Electronic, as opposed to electrical, cash registers did not appear until cheap microprocessors became available. The older registers were mechanical or electro-mechanical. It was the age of the precision machine. Calculators, cash registers, typewriters and teletypes were mechanical devices with large numbers of parts. National Cash Register was the dominant company in the cash register business.

    I can remember going to the department store with my mother back in that era. The department store used special models of cash registers that were huge and had many more buttons than a normal cash register. They also had a pneumatic tube system to send paperwork from one department to another.

  • My List (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lucas Membrane ( 524640 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @11:05AM (#6665655)
    10. Tote boards
    9. Tollbooths
    8. Pay toilets
    7. Collect calls
    6. 900 numbers
    5. Ponzi
    4. Disney dollars
    3. The mill
    2. Raleigh coupons

    And, the greatest monetary technology of the
    20th century ...

    1. The 7-cent nickel (Groucho Marx)

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes